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Thompstone: Tigers’ defence crucial to semi-final charge

Leicester Tigers winger Adam Thompstone believes his side’s defensive improvements are a vital part of their quest to secure an Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final berth for the 13th season in a row.

Thompstone hailed Tigers’ efforts without the ball in their 30-3 victory over Newcastle Falcons at Welford Road on Saturday as his team tightened their grip on the fourth remaining semi-final spot ahead of their clash with Sale Sharks on April 29.

And Thompstone believes Leicester’s defensive tactics, which worked so effectively against Falcons could be used in their battle with Sharks because of their similarly destructive outside backs.

Tigers could confirm their place in the Aviva Premiership semi-finals with a victory over Sale and other results going their way, but Thompstone insists his side’s sole focus is on their showdown with Sharks.

“I think they are a dangerous side and they have some dangerous players – we won’t be taking anything for granted,” said Thompstone.

“We know it is going to be a tough game and one we need to win.

“The semi-final spot is obviously the goal but we are only focusing on Sale. There is no point looking too far forward to the semi-final or final.

“There have been a lot of teams with dangerous back-threes. We managed to keep Newcastle’s back three quiet, which was the plan going into the game, so hopefully we can do the same going up against Sale in a few weeks.

“We have a defensive structure and we will not be going away from that. We will obviously make a few tweaks where we think they are needed.”

Leicester will have been boosted by Bath Rugby’s 25-19 defeat to Worcester Warriors at the weekend, which leaves Tigers four points clear of the West Country outfit in fourth place.

And Thompstone knows his side must continue improving in their last two league encounters, especially given that they lost to Sale in Round Five of the Aviva Premiership.

“It was a good result for us with Bath losing but we have two games left, which we need to win,” said Thompstone.

“Those two games are our focus at the moment and we cannot slip up against either of them.

“We have two weeks to prepare for Sale. They are playing well, so it will certainly be a tough game.

“It was a tough game against Newcastle and a good result for us in the end. Defensively, were strong. We didn’t concede a try, which was very positive for us.

“We managed to get the win and get the bonus-point try, which is what we needed.”

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 27 May at Twickenham are now on sale. If you want to have an unforgettable day out at club rugby’s best Cup Final then click here for tickets.

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